Sunday, July 30, 2017

DadPizza : Salted Egg Cream Chicken Pizza is a must-try

I chanced upon DadPizza when I was heading to have my favorite Lor Mee at Circuit Road Food Centre. Hans Chan, the owner, started this stall, offering different types of Italian thin crust pizza and pasta dishes at affordable prices. He grew up in the neighborhood, and his family could not quite afford to eat pizza during his younger days, and that prompted him to open this stall after working in an Italian restaurant. It is located in a coffee shop, a most unlikely and least expected place. This coffee shop is located along Circuit Road and is directly behind a bus stop.

I came by with my dining companion on a Friday during lunch and I was their only customer at that time. Hans was there. I asked, "How big is the large pizza? Can 2 persons finish 2 large pizza?" He replied, "Most of my customers can do so." I decided to go with a large Seafood Pizza ($12.80) and a Salted Egg Cream Chicken Pizza ($13.80). This is likely to be the cheapest hard crust pizza that you would ever get. The dough is hand stretched on the spot then adding the toppings and baking it in a proper pizza oven. It is self-service, Hans will press the bell to indicate a pickup when it is ready. We had waited for about 10 minutes before we heard the bell rung. We got the Seafood Pizza first and waited for another 5 minutes before the bell rung the second time to collect the Salted Egg Cream Chicken Pizza.

The Seafood Pizza was nice but not of much surprises and not the tastiest pizza as well. The crust was paper-thin and crispy with ingredients like squid rings, prawns, and mussels. 

The Salted Egg Cream Chicken Pizza was a pleasant surprise. I could smell the fragrance of salted egg even before eating it. This was the first ever salted egg pizza that I have ever eaten, and I think Hans has made this combination works. 

There was a generous bit of salted egg under the layer of melted cheese together with slices of grilled chicken breast. For $13.80, this is not only nice but of a good value. 

We liked it so much that we decided to order a large Meaty Pizza ($12.80) and a large Tom Yam Pizza ($13.80) to take away. I was told that I would have to pay 0.70 cents for the box which I have no issue. Hans brought it to our table when it was ready. I told him that, "The Salted Egg Cream Chicken Pizza is really nice. Did you use the real salted egg in it?" He replied, "Yeah." I said, "We will come back again." And, he said, "Thank you." 

The Meaty Pizza was a bit disappointing. I am expecting toppings like minced beef or even chicken, but instead, it is sliced hot dog and ham. It did not have the "meaty" feel at all when eating it. My dining companion cheekily suggested that perhaps it should be renamed to "Processed Meat Pizza" instead. 

The Tom Yam Pizza is another interesting creation that I came across for the first time. It is quite similar to the Seafood Pizza but with just a hint of spiciness. I would think this is a better choice than the Seafood Pizza. 

I did not get to chat much with Hans as he seems a little reserved, but I truly appreciate his efforts in wanting to serve good pizza at lower prices and it is homemade with love.

Block 78 Circuit Road #01-470 SINGAPORE 
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 9.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Shitamatchi Tendon Akimitsu : as good as those in Japan

Shitamatchi Tendon Akimitsu is an award-winning tempura and tendon restaurant from Asakusa in Tokyo, Japan and is owned by Chef Tanihara Akimitsu, the founder, using a recipe that has been around for 128 years. He is also the 5th generation owner and head chef of Dote No Iseya. It has expanded to Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and recently landed in Singapore, brought in by Japan Food Holdings Group. This group also owned brands like Menya Musashi, Osaka Osho, Ajisen Ramen and New Man Lee Bak Kut Teh. 

There was already a long queue when we were there at about 11.45 pm before they open at 12.00 pm. The Godaime Tendon that is at the discounted price of $24.90 was not available as only 10 sets available per day, the original price of the set is $49.80. 

As part of their opening promotion, you have the option to choose between the Matcha Ice-cream Puff or Oi Ocha if you like their Facebook page. 

The menu features different types of Tendon as well as Tempura Rice Sets and Tencha with side dishes and desserts. The must-order has to be the Akimitsu Signature Tendon ($14.90), it consists of prawn, white fish, golden mushroom, seaweed, assorted vegetables, and egg. You could choose the original sauce or the spicy sauce to go with the tendon. We also ordered the Mixed Tempura Rice Set ($15.90) that comprises of prawn, white fish, golden mushroom, seaweed and assorted vegetables. The menu also includes the Ebi Tendon ($17.90), Kakiage Tendon ($15.90), Vegetable Tendon ($12.90) and Kakiage Tencha ($17.90).

I enjoyed the single serving of Chawanmushi that is part of the set, it was silky smooth with a custard-like texture that was so soft that will melt in your mouth. The flavor was so subtle with a complexity of the dashi that came through with mushroom and shrimp embedded in it. 

Each order that inclusive of a main is also served with complimentary free-flow of pickles and a bowl of Miso Soup. 

The Akimitsu Signature Tendon came first. My dining companion and I agreed that the Tendon is almost as good as those that are served in Japan. Those Tempura pieces were lightly battered and deep fried to the desired crispiness and no greasiness to it. 

The Tempura Egg was done perfectly with a runny egg yolk. I remembered dining at one of the oldest tempura restaurants in Tokyo and they are supposed to be famous for their Tempura Egg but it ended up overcooked, it was a disappointing experience then. 

When we were almost done sharing the Akimitsu Signature Tendon, the Mixed Tempura Rice Set is still not served. We informed the service staff and the recovering service was prompt though, they served it in just a bit, and the lady that seemed to be in charge apologized for mixing up the order.

The Mixed Tempura Rice Set came with a bowl of rice with Miso Soup and their specially curated Tempura Sauce together with Sesame Salt and Matcha Salt. It was as good as the previous set, and we enjoyed it totally.

They are in the midst of opening another outlet at Vivocity soon. 

68 Orchard Road #04-65/68 Plaza Singapura SINGAPORE 238839
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ming's Prawn Noodle by a Gen-Y Hawker

Cai Jiaming, 26, started this hawker stall after graduated from At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy serving prawn noodle. He heads to Jurong Fishery Port almost every day as early as 3 am to select the freshest prawns before proceeding to the wet market to get the pork ribs then to his stall to start preparing the master stock to be used for the prawn noodle. Their menu is kept simple, there are prawn noodle and pork ribs noodles at $3.50 each, for dry and for soup version. There is also an option to have both the prawns and pork ribs at $5 per portion. 

I decided to go with the Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle. It was ready in just a bit, and I was asked to help myself with the fried lard, ground chilli powder, and the sliced red chilli. A packet of wet tissue was placed together with the bowls of noodles and soup on the tray. I requested for an extra amount of chilli to be added, and I topped it with 2 spoonfuls of the ground chilli powder together with a handful of fried lard.

The soup served hot, it tasted light and even so it was still flavorful with a slight prawny taste. As for the prawn noodle, it came with a good portion of yellow noodles that were cooked to the right texture, with 3 pieces of medium-sized prawns and 3 pieces of pork ribs together with bean sprouts and kang kong. The pork ribs were not as fatty, it has a thin layer of meat that was cooked to the desired tenderness. The prawns were rather plump and it tasted really fresh. 

It is heartening to see such a passionate young hawker in doing his part to contribute and preserve our hawker culture. 

120 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-01 Alexandra Village Food Centre SINGAPORE 150120
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Monday, July 24, 2017

628 Soya Sauce Chicken in Ang Mo Kio

This is one of the newest stalls in this food centre that opened in March 2017, it used to be a mixed vegetable rice stall that was around for quite a few years. I was their only customer when I went for dinner at about 6 pm. I decided to go with their Soya Sauce Chicken Drumstick Noodle at $4.50, it is $1.50 more expensive as compared to their regular Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle at just $3 for their dry and soup version. If you do not like the noodle, there is an option to have with horfun too. Apparently, it is only $4 if you order the Soya Sauce Chicken Drumstick Rice. 

If you are thinking of getting half or a whole chicken, there are 2 sizes. The smaller chicken is $7 for half and $14 for the whole, the bigger chicken is $11 for half and $22 for the whole, it is served with some braised peanuts. You can choose to go with rice or noodle for just $1.00 each. They also served BBQ Pork Noodle for $3, it is actually the roasted pork that they are using. 

It tasted close to the Michelin-starred Hawker Chan Liao Fan Soya Sauce Chicken, which is not even that good, to begin with, and definitely not quite worthy of that Michelin award as there are many better Soya Sauce Chicken in Singapore just like Lee Fun Nam Kee in Toa Payoh and Chiew Kee Soya Sauce Chicken in Chinatown, which are my current favourites. Even this Soya Sauce Chicken from 628 Soya Sauce Chicken is not too bad as well. You should give it a try if you happen to be in this food centre. 

Block 628 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 #01-59 AMK 628 Food Centre SINGAPORE 560628
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 9.00 pm (Closed on Sundays)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nasi Lemak Specialist @ Street 11 : Beef Rendang Nasi Lemak

This recently opened stall is owned by Madam Mazwin and working alone with her son, Qadir Yusoff, serving Nasi Lemak, Mee Siam, Mee Rebus, Lontong and Chicken Briyani during the weekends. Her sister owned a stall in AMK 628 Food Centre, their signboards are identical and they have a similar menu. 

I was there at about 1 pm when they were about to close and most of the items have already finished. I wanted the Beef Rendang set ($5.50) but was told that they have already run out of Begedil (potato cutlet) and Madam Mazwin offered to take 0.50 cents off from the set. I added the remaining piece of the chicken wing for $1.50. The set also includes a fried egg with some ikan belis and peanuts. 

My dining companion prefers the beef rendang to their chicken wing, the chicken wing though had had its crispiness but not as flavorful within. The beef rendang was pretty good. It had an amazingly tender texture and a depth of flavor with complexity. 

All of their ingredients are freshly prepared and cooking it directly from scratch to give it a homely taste. Just like some of the other Malay stalls, they are using basmati rice though it is not a common choice as the cost incurred is usually higher. It is cooked using freshly squeezed coconut milk for an aromatic fragrance and a lighter texture. The sambal tumis has a slight sweetness with a rather mild level of spiciness but it complemented the rice well.

Their Lontong is as highly recommended but it usually sold out quite early and I did not get to eat it this time. 

137 Tampines Street 11 #01-14 Tampines Round Market SINGAPORE 521137
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 1.00 pm

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Seasalt - the Seafood Place : Fish & Chips done right

Seasalt - the Seafood Place started on 8 December 2013 and they used to be at Salute, a hipster coffee shop in Jalan Bukit Merah before moving to the current location about a year ago. They are located just a stone's throw from Marymount MRT station. They aim to serve fresh and simple seafood with a touch of salty love as mentioned on their website. There is an ordering kiosk at the left of the stall, you are expected to order by selecting the items listed via touch screen and make payment using NETS.

For starters, I decided to order the fried calamari with marinara sauce ($8) that is listed as one of their recommended options on their menu. There is also a grilled calamari Cajun style ($8) as well. There are other interesting items on the menu like grilled mushroom salad ($5), fried country mushroom with cheese and lemon butter ($6), fried white baits ($6) and fried crispy crab bites with sambal ($6).

The must-try has to be their hand battered fish served with fries and green. First, you have to select the type of fish followed by the type of sauce. There are a few choices of fish, like the dory (soft and moist texture) at $9, snapper (flaky and moist texture) at $13 and premium haddock (cold water fish with flaky texture) at $13. As for the sauces, the choices include their signature lemon butter ($1), nacho cheese ($2), wasabi mayo ($2) and creamy salted egg ($3). I decided to go with premium haddock as this was the first time that I came across this fish and wanted it to go with their signature lemon butter. There is also a grilled and baked section and you have only the option of choosing either dory or snapper. I opted for the grilled snapper together with their signature lemon butter sauce. I picked up a pager from the counter and scanned it before proceeding with the payment using NETS. 

I waited for about 15 minutes before the pager buzzed. I went to the counter, collected the 2 main dishes and was told to hold on to the pager as the calamari is not ready yet. It buzzed again in a few minutes, and I went back to pick up the starter. I realized that it did not come with any sauce and so, I went back to the counter again. I was told to wait for a bit while they checked the order. The staff apologized and offered to send the sauce over to our table when is ready. 

The grilled snapper was a good choice, the fillet came in 2 pieces and was lightly seasoned so as not to overwhelm the flavor and also, to bring out its natural taste. It was served with a pile of rice that consists of sliced mushroom, it tasted rather healthy with a slight taste of coriander. 

The deep-fried premium haddock came in 2 pieces, lightly drizzled with the signature lemon butter sauce and served along with fries and green. It was lightly battered and perfectly fried to a desired crispiness but still retained its moistness within. Ernest explained that a lighter batter is used so that their customers will taste more fish in each bite and not having to eat a thick coat of batter just to get to the fish. My only gripe is more lemon better sauce should be provided as it complemented the fish rather well.

I totally enjoyed the fried calamari, it was lightly battered and fried to perfection without compromising its texture. It tasted so fresh and tender, this was amongst the best that I have ever eaten. I would rather eat it on its own and without the accompanying marinara sauce which did not have much effect in enhancing the taste further. Ernest, the owner, mentioned that they started with frozen squid rings but the texture was too rubbery and does not meet the required standard. They then started to experiment with fresh squid and have been using it since then. 

Ernest came over to ask, "How's the food?". I pointed at the empty plate and said, "This is really nice." He asked, "What type of fish did you order?" I replied, "Haddock." He said, "Usually those that know how to eat fish will go for it." He mentioned that their customers compared their fish & chips with the one by Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro and rated it of the same standard. And, some of these customers traveled all the way from other parts of Singapore just to eat it every week. To maintain its freshness and quality, only limited portions of certain popular fish choices are served daily as serving it fresh and simple is always their philosophy.

If you are a fan of fish & chips, you will have to give this place a try as they serve one of the better fish & chips in Singapore. 

38 Jalan Pemimpin #01-04 M38 SINGAPORE 577178
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm / 5.30 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Seafood White Bee Hoon : one of the best in Ang Mo Kio

You Huak Restaurant in Sembawang is likely to be the first to serve white bee hoon before it gained its popularity and they are believed to be the creator of this popular dish. I still remember those times that I joined the long queue to get a table there for their signature white bee hoon. Through the years, they went through a rebranding and also expanded to include a few other branches under the new name of White Restaurant, which is named after their famous white bee hoon. When this dish started to get popular, there are also other hawker stalls and Zi Char places starting to serve it.

There are 2 hawker stalls that are serving this dish in this food centre near my place, I have tried both and actually prefer the white bee hoon from this particular stall more. I have been one of their regular customers since their opening. Simon, the owner, used to work as a chef at a restaurant in London for many years. He started this stall about a year ago as they were still not that many stalls serving white bee hoon at that time. He is the only one that does the cooking so the standard has been quite consistent so far. He is a friendly chap and he often asked, "Why you did not come for so long?" even though my last visit was just a month ago.

I usually go for their basic portion for just $5.00 that is served with only prawns and clams, their ingredients are always fresh. Simon even made an effort to sear the prawns before cooking it to give it a delightful smoky flavor. He has also wok-fried the bee hoon to give it the charred flavor then left it aside and cooked it with the ingredients in the broth then served along with their freshly prepared fried lard.

During my recent visit, he was telling me that he experimented and using an improved recipe for his white bee hoon. I have told him before that his white bee hoon is amongst the most flavorful ones as compared to the others that I have eaten in Ang Mo Kio, that is probably explained why there is often a queue at his stall. 

Block 628 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 #01-49 628 AMK Food Centre SINGAPORE 560628
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 2.00 pm / 4.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Donya Japanese Cuisine : affordable Japanese fare in the heartland

This is a newly opened Japanese food stall in a coffee shop directly opposite the food centre at Toa Payoh Lorong 1. They aim to bring premium Japanese donburi and sushi to the heartlands at affordable prices from $5.80 to $9.80, using quality ingredients to bring forth dishes that are of standards as good as the restaurants at coffee shop prices. Japanese fare is not necessarily to be expensive these days as there are more and more such hawker stalls even though their standard might not be as high as those Japanese restaurants, it is usually pretty close.

I decided to go with their Chicken Katsu Don ($5.80) and Mentai Maki ($5.80). I was told that my number is 59 after making payment. I asked, "How would I know when it is ready?" The friendly lady at the counter, said, "We will ring the bell and shout the number." I managed to find a table that is not too far from their counter so I could hear it when the number is called. I had waited for about 10 minutes before I heard my number being called. I went to the counter, collected both items and walked away. Just a couple of seconds later, the chap came over with the miso soup. He said, "You still have a bowl of miso soup." I suppose that miso soup came along with the Chicken Katsu Don. The service was friendly and they even made an effort to say "Thank You," which is commendable.

The Chicken Katsu Don is of a pretty good value, it consists of a thick piece of perfectly fried breaded chicken simmered in a soy-dashi based broth with shredded onion with beaten egg then sprinkled with dried shredded seaweed and scallions before serving. The breading on the fried chicken has absorbed the delightful flavor of the broth and went well with rice. This is the nicest hawker-style Chicken Katsu Don that I have eaten, it is even better than the other one by Konomi Zen, another Japanese hawker stall at the food centre near where I stay. Again, there is a difference in price though, that one by Konomi Zen is priced at $3.50 but it came with a thinner slice of Chicken Katsu.

They are likely to be the first hawker stall that serves premium sushi rolls like Mentai Maki. The California Maki was topped with mentaiko sauce then lightly torched before finishing off with tobiko (flying fish roe), serving in 4 pieces for just $5.80, which is affordable and probably one of the cheapest ones around.

There are other items on their menu that I am interested in trying like the Unagi Tama Don ($8.80), Salmon Mentai Don ($8.80), Chicken Teriyaki Don ($6.80), Donya Maki ($5.80) and also the Gyoza ($3.80).

Block 126 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 SINGAPORE 310126
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 2.30 pm / 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Daily)